My top iOS apps for iPhone and iPad

My seven favorite iOS apps of 2011.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

A question that I get asked on a regular basis is 'what apps have you got on you iPhone/iPad?' Well, I have a lot of apps, on answering that question can take a long time, so rather than giving you a list of everything that I use and expect you to wade through it, I thought I'd tell what my favorite apps for iOS are, and why.


My top app has to be Evernote. It's my top app because it integrates so seamlessly with my desktop, notebook, iPhone and iPad. I jot something down, take a photo or record something in one place, and within seconds it's available on all my devices.

Evernote does an awful lot:

  • Create text, photo and audio notes
  • Auto-synchronize your notes to your Mac, PC, and Web
  • Magically makes text within snapshots searchable
  • Mark notes as "Favorite" for quick access
  • All notes include geo-location information for mapping and search

There's an optional premium service feature that allows you to add, sync, access, and share files (PDF, Word, Excel, PPT, and more) among the different versions of Evernote you use. This app is by far the quickest and easiest way to get my files onto all my devices.

Evernote has a client for Windows, Mac, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and WebOS.

Pocket Informant

Another iOS app that I must turn to numerous times per day is Pocket Informant. This single app is the hub for my calendar, tasks, notes and contacts.

This app is highly customization and there are numerous views and filters that allow you to categorize and control your day-to-day life. It's awesome to have everything I need to do in a day in a single app.

LogMeIn Ignition

Control your PC or Mac from anywhere as long as you have a WiFi or 3G connection. I've totally lost count of the number of times I've found this app to be useful.

It's a rock-solid app that incorporates some really nice features that makes remote controlling your computer a snap.

LogMeIn Ignition is not a cheap app, but it's a true time-saver for me.

Access your information

  • Access your home and work computers anytime, anywhere.
  • Control your Mac or PC as if you’re sitting right in front of it.
  • Use applications and edit files directly on your computer.

Manage your files

  • Copy and view files that reside on your computer directly on your iPad or iPhone.
  • Update the files and folders saved to your iPad or iPhone with a single touch.
  • Transfer files between multiple computers with ease.

Get stuff done

  • Run the applications you need, whether on a PC or Mac.
  • Fix computer problems remotely for business or personal IT.
  • Take your files with you over Wi-Fi/3G, and leave the computer behind.


  • Remote Control
  • Intuitive and flexible control modes
  • Multi-monitor support
  • Supports use of special key combinations
  • Start a sleeping computer with Wake-On-LAN

File Manager

  • Browse all your files and folders on remote computers
  • Create a local folder and filing system on iPad or iPhone
  • Transfer files and folders between remote computers with your iPad or iPhone
  • My Cloud Bank integration that links Ignition with popular cloud services
  • Attach any file (including multimedia) to emails from Ignition
  • Save PC and Mac files directly on an iPad or iPhone for offline viewing
  • Directly access and transfer photos from/to your iPad or iPhone photo library
  • Update locally saved files with changes made on remote computers
  • Edit files using other apps (requires file editing apps)
  • Print to AirPrint-compatible printers

Next -->

iA Writer (iPad only)

I love this app, not because it's crammed with features, but because it offers me a distraction-free writing experience. It's more like typing on a typewriter than a word processor.

I love iA Writer because there's little to get between you and the writing, and very few buttons, menus and settings to distract you.

What features it does have are both very useful and very well thought out:

  • INNOVATIVE WRITING TECHNOLOGY Writer's keyboard extension (with Word and ? ? keys) lets you navigate via arrow keys and type punctuation without switching the keyboard. The unique FocusMode™ lets you concentrate on one sentence at a time. Do and undo with a simple two finger swipe.
  • ESSENTIAL, EASY TO USE, BEAUTIFUL Every element of the user interface has been designed and polished to be easy and clear—no settings, no complicated interactions. Writer doesn't need long explanations. You'll be writing your articles, poems and novels in no time.
  • OUTSTANDING TYPOGRAPHY Your texts will look spectacular in our iPad-optimized writing typography. It has been developped in collaboration with leading typographers and screen designers with the greatest care for detail. SAVE AND SYNC Sync Writer files via iCloud and Dropbox, import/export directly via email and iTunes File Sharing.

Angry Birds Seasons

What can I say about Angry Birds Seasons that you don't already know. You catapult a variety of bird species at pigs.

Simple really.

I'm not sure why I like Angry Birds Seasons more than the original Angry Birds (I own both, and have a 3-star rating on all games), maybe it's the themed level releases

Zombie Gunship

Another favorite game of mine is Zombie Gunship. Blast zombies from your heavily-armed AC-130 ground attack aircraft. Drop fiery death from above with your powerful guns to slay endless waves of zombies and protect the remaining survivors of the zombie apocalypse!

Loads of fun!

  • 3D NIGHT VISION DISPLAY with Motion Blur Toggle between white and black hot modes. Use your radar to quickly detect and eliminate the zombie threat.
  • AUTHENTIC WEAPONS 25mm Gatling gun 40mm Bofors auto-cannon 105mm Howitzer cannon
  • COLLECT a BOUNTY for each ZOMBIE KILL Use coins to upgrade your armaments and increase your zombie killing efficiency.
  • COMPETE for GLORY Challenge your friends and other gunners on the Game Center Leaderboard!
  • NEW and EXCLUSIVELY for iOS 5 - AirPlay Support! iPhone 4S and iPad 2 players with an Apple TV can now stream Zombie Gunship to their HDTV WIRELESSLY!
  • UNIVERSAL For one low price you get the Retina enabled iPhone, iPod Touch, and HD iPad versions of the game!

Big Lens

Take photos on your iPhone or iPad that look like they were taken with a high-end DSLR with Big Lens.

Snap a picture and then edit it like magic by setting the aperture, changing periphery blur levels, and adjusting background light to create a Bokeh effect with just a few gestures.

5 SUPER tools help iPhone/iPad users to create high quality photos.

  1. Smart Focus System The Big Lens Smart Focus system allows you to use your finger tips to focus your images without any previous knowledge in Depth-of-Field. You can use basic geometric shapes or a lasso tool to auto-focus your target, or you can choose advanced mode to manually define your focus area. Smart Focus will then automatically refine your selection with precision.
  2. Aperture Control Adjust the aperture in Big Lens with a single gesture to instantly change the blur level of the out-of-focus area. Remember that larger apertures blur the background more! Big Lens also offers 9 unique lenses that allow out-of-focus light points to blur into shapes like hearts and stars (Bokeh effect). This great tool turns simple-looking backgrounds into atmospheric backdrops.
  3. Filter Effects Filters allow photographers to create special tones over images. Big Lens has more than 18 filters that allow users to enhance color, increase contrast, or add Lomo effects. The result is spectacular filter simulation results right from your iPhone.
  4. Instant Focus/Blur Tool With instant focus and blur tools, users are able to instantly modify the focus and blur area with their fingers in no time. Use simple gestures to enhance and retouch focal areas to make the subject of your photos really pop!
  5. Before & After Preview This is another great tool that allows users to compare before & after images to ensure they get the exact result they’re looking for. You can review your images at any time during your make-over process.


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